1. When we know about the future we normally use the present tense.

  • We use the present simple for something scheduled or arranged:

We have a lesson next Monday.
The train arrives at 6.30 in the morning.
The holidays start next week.
It is my birthday tomorrow.

  • We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements:

I’m playing football tomorrow.
They are coming to see us tomorrow.
We’re having a party at Christmas.

2. We use will to talk about the future:

  • When we make predictions:

It will be a nice day tomorrow.
I think Brazil will win the World Cup.
I’m sure you will enjoy the film.

  • To mean want to or be willing to:

I hope you will come to my party.
George says he will help us.

  • To make offers and promises:

I'll see you tomorrow.
We'll send you an email.

  • To talk about offers and promises:

Tim will be at the meeting.
Mary will help with the cooking.

3. We use (be) going to:

  • To talk about plans and intentions:

I’m going to drive to work today.
They are going to move to Manchester.

  • When we can see that something is likely to happen:

Be careful! You are going to fall.
Look at those black clouds. I think it’s going to rain.


4. We often use verbs like would like, plan, want, mean, hope, expect to talk about the future:

What are you going to do next year? I’d like to go to University.
We plan to go to France for our holidays.
George wants to buy a new car.

5. We use modals may, might, and could when we are not sure about the future:

I might stay at home tonight, or I might go to the cinema.
We could see Mary at the meeting. She sometimes goes.

6. We can use should if we think something is likely to happen:

We should be home in time for tea.
The game should be over by eight o’clock.

7. Clauses with time words:

In clauses with time words like when, after, and until we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:

I’ll come home when I finish work.
You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.

8. Clauses with if:

In clauses with if we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:

We won’t be able to go out if it rains.
If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.

WARNING: We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:

I’ll come home when I will finish work.
We won’t be able to go out if it will rain rains.

But we can use will if it means a promise or offer:

I will be very happy if you will come to my party.
We should finish the job early if George will help us.

9. We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous or going to for emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions:

They’ll be coming to see us next week.
I will be driving to work tomorrow.

 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hallo,
I've got a doubt concerning a statement to talk about the future: do we say
the best student will win a prize or
The best student is winning a prize?

Hello Patrizia13,

The correct fom here would be 'will win'. You would say 'is winning' when you are describing the present - i.e. when you are watching the prize-giving ceremony.

One of the uses of 'will' is to describe a future certainty - not a hope or a plan or an arrangement, but a future fact which we see as inevitable.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Sarah says, ''I will say to Tom that John is dancing''

The present continuous is referring to the point in the future when Sarah will be saying ''John is dancing'' to Tom. In other words, it will happen about the same time.

What if John dances at the moment of saying the whole sentence, but he won't at the time that Sarah will say to Tom ''John is dancing''. I can't use ''John is dancing'' and nether can I use ''was dancing'' because he is dancing at the moment of saying the whole sentence. What should I choose with this context?

I think the future perfect or continuous should do it.

Thank you.

Hello MCWSL,

Both 'is dancing' (what she can see) and 'was dancing' (if she prefers to look back on an already complete action) can be used in this scenario. Sarah is not reporting her words to Tom. She is is telling someone else about her intention so there is no requirement to consider her words to Tom.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Thank you for the answer. I have one more question regarding this.

If we use the past continuous form, does this mean that it doesn't refer to the present's past, but it refers to the future's past; for example,

As I said, John is dancing at the moment Sarah is telling somebody the whole sentence, but John doesn't dance at the moment Sarah reports what John was doing (was dancing). This means that the past continuous refers to the present(the time Sarah is telling the sentence), not before.

Thank you.

Hello again Sirs, my questions are:
I am going to the party to tonight.
I am going at the party tonight.
1) What is/are the difference between these two?
2. Are they both grammatically correct? Thx.

Hello Aoll212,

The correct form is 'to' here, but we do not need a second 'to' before tonight.

I'm going to the party tonight.

 

We do not use 'at' with the verb 'go' other than to refer to time (at six o'clock).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team ,

I am confused between the meaning of "when" and "until" in this sentence:
"It was only when (or only until ?) he told me his surname that I realised that we had been to the same school."

SHould I use "when" or "until" in this context ?
Thank you.

Hello Widescreen,

In this context you could use 'only when' or 'not until'.

It was not until he told me his surname that I realised that we had been to the same school.

It was only when he told me his surname that I realised that we had been to the same school.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

Could you please tell me which of the following two sentences are correct:

We will need to address all the comments today as we will need to initiate the final review cycle tomorrow.
OR
We need to address all the comments today as we need to initiate the final review cycle tomorrow.

In this case, I'm not sure whether I need to use 'will' or not.

Thank you for your help.

Kind Regards,
SK

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